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Briefs

Oil barge wreck halts traffic on Mississippi

A barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil hit a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Miss., on Sunday, spilling light crude into the Mississippi River and closing the waterway for eight miles in each direction, the Coast Guard said. A second barge was damaged.

Investigators did not know how much had spilled, but an oily sheen was reported as far as three miles downriver of Vicksburg after the 1:12 a.m. incident, said Lt. Ryan Gomez of the Coast Guard’s office in Memphis, Tenn.

Authorities were still trying to determine the source of the leak, but it appeared to be coming from one or two tanks at the stern of the first barge, Gomez said.

American pastor gets 8 years in Iran

An American pastor who has been jailed in Iran since September has been sentenced to eight years in prison, the U.S. State Department said Sunday.

Spokesman Darby Holladay said the department is calling on Iran to respect Saeed Abedini’s human rights and release him.

Earlier this month, Iran’s semiofficial news agency, ISNA, quoted Abedini’s attorney, Nasser Sarbazi, as saying his client stood trial in the Revolutionary Court on charges of attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes.

The pastor has rejected the charges.

French, Malian allies march on Timbuktu

French and Malian forces pushed toward the fabled desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, as the two-week-long French mission gathered momentum against the Islamist extremists who have ruled the north for more than nine months.

So far the French forces have met little resistance from the militants, though it remains unclear what battles may await them farther north.

Pulitzer-winning author dies at 87

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Stanley Karnow has died at age 87.

A son of the author Michael Karnow, told The Associated Press that his father died in his sleep Sunday at his home in Potomac, Md.

Stanley Karnow wrote the definitive book and television documentary about the Vietnam War and later won a Pulitzer for a history of the Philippines.

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